Each and every year it gets to the end of November and money starts to look tighter than Santa’s belt. Chances are that you knew you should have saved up to buy Christmas presents, but you didn’t. You’re unfortunately just going to try to cut back and make it fit.
While you may be able to save a few dollars using this strategy, you probably won’t be able meet your full Christmas budget. According to the American Research Group, survey of 1,100 adults nationwide, the average response was a planned spending amount of $854.
Bracing for an Emergency:
One of the hardest things about trying to stretch your dollar over the Christmas season is the disheartening possibility of a genuine financial emergency coming along. It can really ruin your Christmas when you’ve spent the last of your money on the family and then the worst happens. Your car breaks down, your washing machine explodes, the cat breaks its leg, etc. There are so many crises that can occur, and if you don’t have some cash put aside for them then it can really break your festive spirit.
That’s why it’s important for your family to budget for an emergency fund. That way there would be another be money set aside for these types of emergencies rather than using all your Christmas funds to cover the unforeseen costs.
Setting Up a Christmas Budget:
Everyone has the ability to save money for Christmas. For just a few dollars a week and a little bit of discipline, you could save your way towards a reasonable Christmas budget.
1. Set aside money every week. Let’s assume you’re one of the people who will spend the average $854 this year for Christmas. In order to reach this goal, you’d simply have to set aside $16.42 per week. Lots of local banks and credit unions have holiday clubs setup for helping individuals with their Christmas budget.
However, all things considered, coming up with less than $20 per week may be stretch. Maybe they are loaded with debt or lots of expenses. Or perhaps they struggle with the discipline to set aside their money regularly. It’s up to you how much you’ll want to make Christmas presents a priority in your family. If you truly do, decide how much of your family savings budget you’d like to devote to gift giving and then stick with it.
2. Credit card rewards. One of my favorite ways to save for Christmas is by spending … responsibly that is. Our family has 3 different rewards credit cards that give us cash back and gift cards for various purchases we make. All year long we’ll use the cards to buy things that we would have normally purchased anyways and bank the rewards. Then around Christmas time we’ll start redeeming the rewards for gifts cards for our family and friends.
3. Bank the windfalls. If you receive any sort of lump-sum payment throughout the year such as an income tax refund or bonus from work, bank it for later. Doing so will help ensure you’ve got more than enough to cover the additional costs that come with Christmas.
Remember that there’s no need to put yourself into debt when it comes to finding gifts. Your loved ones will understand if your Christmas budget is a little tight this year and you can’t afford to get everyone exactly what they want. And if you’re in serious need there are plenty of charities and organizations that will discretely assist you in getting presents for your children. Christmas is the time of year for giving, so if you find yourself in this predicament don’t be ashamed to rely on the generosity of others.
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